Supreme Court asked to suspend ballot printing over alleged Comelec 'defiance'

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2022 07:18 PM

The printing of ballots for the automated election system that would be used in the May 9 national and local elections started Jan. 23, 2022, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said. Photo courtesy of Comelec 
The printing of ballots for the automated election system that would be used in the May 9 national and local elections started Jan. 23, 2022, Commission on Elections spokesperson James Jimenez said. Photo courtesy of Comelec 


MANILA — A senatorial aspirant declared "nuisance candidate" by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to temporarily halt the printing of ballots until the poll body includes his name on it. 

Norman Marquez, in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, sought the intervention of the High Court to compel the Comelec to "include in the ballot the name of this candidate, as well as other similarly affected candidates."

"Petitioner... desperately seeks judicial succor from this Honorable Court to motu proprio... order the immediate suspension of the printing of ballots in order to enjoin the Comelec—who has brazenly and contumaciously exhibited contempt while employing self-serving and dubious excuses to defy the Court with impunity—to include in the ballot the name of this candidate, as well as other similarly affected candidates," Marquez said. 

Marquez's name was excluded in the official ballot even when he was able to obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the nuisance declaration on Jan. 19 or 4 days before the printing of automated election system (AES) ballots started.

In a press conference Tuesday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that the poll body had completed the "serialization" of ballots even before Jan. 19 so "there was nothing to do but to just go ahead and print the ballots."

Marquez said Jimenez's statement proved that Comelec ignored the TRO, believing the SC would "cower at the prospect of being blamed for disruptions of the elections."

"It is evident the Comelec could afford to be bold enough to defy the Court since it is all too confident in the assumption that should the Supreme Court be compromised into a position such as when the printing of ballots has already commenced, the latter would cower at the prospect of being blamed for disruptions of the elections, hence, the Court might be deterred from enforcing its TROs," Marquez said.

Marquez said that there was no one to blame but the Comelec due to its supposedly slow-paced resolution of cases. 

"Let the Comelec pay for deliberately and whimsically delaying the resolutions of its nuisance cases and compel them to rectify the mistakes they have caused," he said. 

In a forum Wednesday, Jimenez said Comelec is ready to abide by any order of the SC suspending the ballot printing.

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